Michael Vick has found a family in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers' third-string quarterback thoroughly enjoyed his time with the team this season, and reflected on his experience on Tuesday.
“It made me feel old,” Vick laughed, “At the same time I understand the respect level that is there, the work that I have done and the hard work I put in at 35. I think they respect the motivation I try to give them each and every day because I see the potential in them. I believe in them, they believe in me. I think at the end of the day I am a big brother to them.”
“It’s a special group, it’s a special atmosphere,” said Vick. “It’s a special group of coaches. I think Coach (Mike) Tomlin and what he demands from the players, he gives it to us but at the end of the day he understands we are men. He puts responsibility on us and we respond. I think it’s the type of coach he is in terms of how he treats his players. He makes his players want to work hard for him.
“From Day 1, from the time I got here, it was a family oriented atmosphere. My first day felt like I had been here for two months because everybody welcomed me in. From the time I started to practice I felt like I was at home. You can’t ask for more. Coach told me about that on the phone before I arrived. We talked and I was thankful to come to a place where I was accepted and it was a great group of guys.”
“I expressed if there is a way possible I would love to come back,” said Vick. “I love the team, I love the atmosphere. I feel like I could help.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin had nothing but praise for Vick, who played in five games for the Steelers this season. He managed a memorable come-from-behind victory over the San Diego Chargers on Oct.12.
"He got us out of a few stadiums. And San Diego specifically," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "I think about the play he made on that final drive with his legs when he ran down the middle of the field and provided us with a significant chunk of yardage. That guy got us out of the stadium that day, and his contributions are more than that instance, but that’s just one that’s very vivid and very tangible that you can look to that makes me say that."
Vick will always remember it as one of the better wins in his career.
“To be able to celebrate with the team at the end, I was ecstatic,” said Vick. “I came in and was able to get it done. I couldn’t have done it without the help of the team, without them believing in me. It’s one of those wins I will remember for a lifetime.”
Vick also had praise for Ben Roethlisberger, who he developed a good relationship with over the course of the season.
“He is a great guy to be around,” said Vick. “I really admire his preparation and how he goes about his business. To watch a guy who is a potential Hall of Famer go out and explore his talents every week really helped me as a player.”
Vick will become an unrestricted free agent on March 9, and the team will have the option to keep him on. For what it's worth, Vick would love to remain with the team next season.
“I love the Steelers organization,” said Vick. “I love Coach Tomlin. I love the players I am around. I love my teammates. It was an awesome experience this year to compete throughout the playoffs. That’s what I came here for.”
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press